Carl Froch will put not just his pair of world title belts on the line, but also his status as the UK's top fighter when he faces young gun George Groves later this year. The fight is expected to be held in late November or early December, with a venue still to be determined. The early rumored date is November 23.
Froch (31-2, 22 KO) and Groves (19-0, 15 KO) are both promoted by Matchroom Boxing, which made it an easy deal with both fighters on board for the bout and promoter Eddie Hearn not deciding to try and hold off on the fight. Groves was recently named IBF mandatory challenger, and Froch said then that he'd defend his title rather than vacate, which would have left him with the WBA belt, and given Groves a likely vacant title fight against a far lesser opponent.
So while this may not be the totally ideal time for a promoter to make a fight like this between an established commodity still fighting very well and a rising star still with strides to make, we're getting the fight because everyone decided it was better to make it than not. How about that? What a weird idea!
Froch, 36, says that he prefers this matchup, which should be a big ticket in the UK, to a fight against someone from overseas, who likely wouldn't have made as much of a media impact.
"I'm excited the first defense of both my belts is a big domestic clash," said Froch. "I am a proper fighter and a proper champion and I will always face my mandatory challenger rather than vacate the title. I've known George for a while, I've sparred with him and watched him grow and now he's my mandatory - I will be pouring everything into my preparation for the fight and George will face the very best of me.
"It is better this way than a low-key overseas opponent as this fight will relight memories of some of the great all-British clashes and with world titles on the line it's a really huge occasion and one that will grab the attention of British sports fans."
Groves, 25, is getting his first world title opportunity. "This is the biggest fight of my career and being a world champion is something that I dreamed of as a kid," he said.
"I'm well ranked across all the governing bodies but fighting Carl is the one that I wanted the most. He is a big name in the UK and a well-respected champion around the world, and I have a great team around me that can put together the right game plan to beat him and become a world champion and a major force in the super middleweight division."
And promoter Hearn has, as you would expect, brought up the memory of the great British fights at 168 pounds in the 1990s, when Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Steve Collins, and Michael Watson battled in fights that helped to establish the weight class.
"I'm delighted to have got this fight made," said Hearn. "It's a great fight for British boxing with a real throwback feel to the big domestic fights in the super middleweight fights in the 90s.
"When George became the mandatory challenger, I knew there was no way Carl would relinquish the belt and no way that George would look anywhere else. This fight will grow and grow and fans can expect an exciting night and a packed undercard when full details of the fight are announced."